US House backs healthcare repeal

Bill calls for reversing of changes championed by the president, but repeal likely to be stopped in Senate.

US Healthcare bill
Republicans have vowed to roll back many changes made as part of President Obama’s agenda [GALLO/GETTY]

Republicans in the US House of Representatives have pushed through a largely symbolic bill calling for a repeal of the overhaul of healthcare championed by Barack Obama, the US president.

Two weeks after Republicans formally took over the House of Representatives, legislators voted 245-189 on Thursday to pass a measure rolling back the law.

The bill, however, has virtually no chance of actually reversing the healthcare overhaul as it must still 
clear  the Democrat-controlled Senate and then overcome the president’s veto if it does emerge from the US Congress.

The healthcare law, along with the most sweeping rewrite of financial regulation rules since the Great Depression in the 1930s, stand as two of Obama’s biggest domestic policy victories.

Republican pledge

Republican leaders said they were committed to trying to repeal it in order to honour a campaign pledge that helped them win control of the House and gain seats in the Senate in midterm elections last November.

“Our pledge was to repeal ‘Obamacare,'” John Boehner, the House speaker, said.

“Why? Because it is going to increase spending, increase taxes and destroy jobs in America.”

While an outright repeal appears to be out of the question, Republican leaders have said that they plan to starve the healthcare legislation of the funds needed to implement key provisions, and to strike individual sections.

Democrats are denouncing the campaign as a waste of legilators’ time, saying that members of Congress should focus on battling high US unemployment and other domestic policy concerns.

Harry Reid, the Democrat Senate majority leader, has said he will not bring the repeal up for a vote in the upper chamber.

Source: News Agencies